These American classics made a name for themselves in a field dominated by Mustangs and Corvettes.
In Part One of our article on second-tier muscle cars, we looked at six of 12 models that are certainly considered genuine muscle cars but failed to make the waves that some of their bigger-engined brothers did. Here are the remaining six lesser known gems of the muscle car era.
1967 Dodge Coronet R/T
The R/T was a special model produced to make a statement. While a more domestic version with a 440 CID engine was available, buyers had the option of a monster.
Yes, according to , the Dodge Coronet could be optioned with the 426-cid Hemi. Drivetrain options were Mopar’s excellent heavy-duty three-speed TorqueFlite automatic or a four-speed manual.
1964 Mercury Marauder
The debuted in the middle of 1963 to take part in the horsepower wars. It was available with the 390, 406, and 427 cubic-inch engines, which could be paired with a 3-speed or 4-speed manual, or a 3-speed automatic.
1968 Chevrolet Biscayne 427
The all-new 1965 Biscayne was available with just one engine, a 250 cu in inline-six. That all changed in 1966 when the in-line six became the entry level engine, replaced by the Big-Block 427 cu in V-8 as the top engine.
The high-powered, high-revving 425 hp V8 version with solid lifters proved to be what the doctor ordered.
1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 Sport Coupe
Introduced in 1964, the Pontiac Catalina was 2+2, a full size coupe based on General Motors’ iconic B-body chassis. It sourced its power from a 421 cu in powertrain with dual exhaust, heavy duty front springs, a 3-speed synchromesh manual transmission (a 4-speed with a Hurst shifter came as an option), and a 3.42:1 performance axle ratio.
1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400
Built by Pontiac from 1967 to 2002 — yes, it was around for that long — the Firebird was a very capable machine. Two Ram Air 400 cu in engines were available for the 1970 model year: The first was the L74 Ram Air III model (335 HP) and the second was a 345 hp LS1 Ram Air IV (370 HP) that were carried over from 1969.
The was capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 6.4 seconds.
1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt
The Fairlane Thunderbolt introduced in 1964 as a limited production, factory experimental model. A total of 100 units were produced — forty-nine featuring a 4-speed and fifty-one making due with an automatic — which was enough to secure Ford the 1964 NHRA Super Stock title.
The Thunderbolt’s combination of Ford’s light weight, intermediate-sized body with a “high rise” 427 cu in V8 powertrain and dual Holley four-barrel carburetors proved to be a force to be reckoned with in NASCAR.
2020 Chevy Corvette C8 First Drives Are Positive, It’s A Serious Supercar
It’s a serious supercar despite its bargain basement price.
The new C8 Chevrolet Corvette is the real deal, at least if the first drive impressions are anything to go by.
According to an aggregate of automotive outlets that had the chance behind the wheel, the first-ever mind-engine Corvette drives and feels like, well, a mid-engine supercar. You feel like your sitting at the center of the car.
The steering is also lighter than the C7 Corvette, and there is more connection between driver and front wheels.
The C8 Corvette is much more sophisticated and refined than any Corvette before it, striking an uncanny balance of comfort and sportiness between its various driving modes.
The interior, which received some criticism for its rather peculiar layout, is very well thought out. According to one outlet, the square steering wheels lets the driver see the entire gauge set without trouble, while the controversial long line of buttons that divides the driver and passenger is very ergonomic.
The same could be said about the infotainment touchscreen, which is ideally placed for utilization and can be controlled by a very stylish mode control mouse.
It feels like plane’s cockpit inside, and the leather quality, panel gaps and general ambiance, while not on par with the Ferrari and Porsche of this world, greatly exceed anything ever seen in a Corvette.
The 495 horsepower and 470 pound feet of torque produced by the 6.2-litre small-block V8 is enough to get the C8 up and going, but some reviewers didn’t find the exhaust note exciting enough for a car of such performance.
Overall, the C8 Corvette Stingray appears to be every bit the performance bargain we cracked it out to be, if not more so considering the leap in driving and handling sophistication, incredibly improved interior, and chassis refinement.
Did you think it would disappoint?
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Gets Slightly New Look For 2021
It now looks a lot more like the Silverado from the front.
Over 520,000 Colorado midsize pickups have been sold over the fives following the model’s re-introduction in the U.S. market. To keep it competitive with rivals like the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger, Chevy has given it some updates for the 2021 model year.
The ZR2 package receives the biggest changes, gaining a new new flow-through grille inspired by the larger Silverado, with the world ‘Chevrolet’ spelled out across it.
Designers also moved the bowtie emblem to an asymmetrical position beside the driver-side headlight, while the tow hooks are finished in contrasting red paint.
As with the grille, the brand’s name is fully spelled out across the tailgate.
The 2021 Colorado ZR2 comes equipped with front and rear electronically locking differentials, Multimatic dampers, a 2.0-inch suspension lift, and 3.5-inch wider track relative to the standard Colorado, and multiple skid plates to protect its underbody.
The lesser Colorado WT, LT and Z71 trims all receive updated center bars, lower fascias and front skid plates.
The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 makes its world debut at the 2019 SEMA show in Las Vegas.
Nearly a year ago, Chevrolet Performance Engineering teamed up with Multimatic and Hall Racing to develop 15 performance parts for the ZR2.
2020 Corvette C8.R Is Chevy’s First Mid-Engine GTLM Race Car
The race car will make its racing debut at the 2020 Rolex 24.
The automotive world anticipated a new Corvette Convertible would make its debut in early October, but few expected the 2020 Corvette C8.R race car to be unveiled alongside it.
The C8 Corvette is the first Corvette to have a mid-engine layout and a duel-clutch transmission, while the new Corvette Stingray Convertible is the first Corvette to have a power-folding retractable roof. In yet another first for the iconic nameplate, the Corvette C8.R is Chevy’s first mid-engine GTLM race car.
“The C8.R is much more than just a race-tuned version of the 2020 Corvette Stingray. It’s a culmination of many years of testing and development between GM Design, Propulsion, Engineering and the Corvette Racing team,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports. “The collaboration between these teams has allowed us to take these vehicles’ performance to the next level, both on the street and the track.”
Unfortunately, aside from what we see, Chevy didn’t reveal much details about the race car. A massive diffuser dominates the rear, and there’s plenty of new aero features all around.
As for what breathes in the engine bay, there is a good chance its a version of the 6.2-liter V8 found in its predecessor, or possibly some variation of Cadillac’s Blackwing twin-turbo DOHC V8.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R makes its racing debut at the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona.